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10:01 AM   [14 Mar 2014 | Friday]

How Did Paul Survive

               HAVE you ever noticed that Paul and the Disciples seemed to have a different understanding about the Christian life than a lot of us do today. We see it when the Disciples were brought before the Jewish Council in Acts chapter 5, and told to stop preaching about Jesus. The Council finally let them go after beating them (some versions say flogging them). That would have been a very painful experience, yet we read that the disciples went out from the Council 'rejoicing that they had been counted worthy to suffer shame and disgrace for Jesus name'.

Later on in Acts 16, Paul and Silas are falsely accused, then 'beaten with many blows with rods' and put into the deepest dungeon of the prison with their feet in stocks. That dungeon would have been a foul smelling place and not the place to be when you had open,bleeding, untended wounds such as they had. Their response to this treatment was singing. Paul had many of that sort of treatment, the worst of which would probably have been when he was stoned and dragged out of the city and left to die.( Acts  chapter 14) When you take time to think about what that experience would have been like ; it would have been impossible for an ordinary human being to survive that. But we are told that after the disciples prayed for him he got up and walked back into the city with them and the next day carried on with his preaching journey.

Though I am sure they did not like that sort of treatment, they seemed to accept to some degree, that it was part of their job description. A while back while I was going through a hard time I got to thinking what my response would be if I had the dungeon and beating experience Paul and Silas had. I had to face the fact that my attitude would have been a lot different than theirs!

But how did Paul survive? There is no doubt that the the miracle power of God was continually at work with him. The New Testament has a couple of references where Paul explains how he was able to live like this; 1 Corinthians 15 v 10 says that he worked harder than all of the Apostles put together, 'yet not I but the grace of God that was in me'. He had allowed Gods grace to be his life force.

I think that Galatians 2 v 20 is the best description of Pauls inner life; ' I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in (or by the faith of) the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me'.

And that is the secret for our living also.

Mood: calm
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